Pre-winter meeting tidbits (Part 2): Top free agents, vet starter, Reimold, Gregg
Again, I’ll start with something that certainly won’t appeal to the masses. If you’re expecting the O’s to be players on any of the top remaining free agents -- and really, why would you? -- don’t hold your breath. For several reasons, ranging from the players' unwillingness to come to a losing organization to the Orioles’ unwillingness to match their asking price, the Orioles aren’t legitimate suitors right now for Cliff Lee, Jayson Werth, Carl Crawford or Adrian Beltre. Sure, this the “No Duh” tidbit of the year, but I thought I’d mention it again because it seems there is a small segment of the fan base that expects Beltre to become an Oriole. Look, things could change and Beltre, who apparently doesn't have a Boston return in his future after today's Adrian Gonzalez trade, could suddenly warm to the idea of being an Oriole. The Orioles also could strike out in their other pursuits and decide to make a huge offer to any of the players above, but they’d have a heckuva lot of ground to make up.
Here’s another tidbit that certainly won’t shock you: From what I hear from different baseball executives, Scott Boras’ asking price for free agent first baseman Carlos Pena is really high right now. Pena has interest in coming to Baltimore, and you can’t rule out the Washington Nationals or even him returning to Tampa Bay. But it will be interesting to see how high the Orioles are willing to go. Their first base options are dwindling by the day.
I’ve also heard that Orioles president of baseball operations Andy MacPhail has made several calls to teams with starting pitching depth. Both MacPhail and manager Buck Showalter would clearly be more comfortable with another veteran starter to put somewhere in the rotation behind Jeremy Guthrie and provide what Kevin Millwood did last year, hopefully with a lower ERA and loss total. I don’t think free agents like Doug Davis, Kevin Correia and Dave Bush fit the bill, prompting MacPhail to explore trade options.
While the Orioles aren’t shopping Nolan Reimold, they have at least contacted some teams to gauge their interest in the young outfielder. Just my opinion here, but I think to move Reimold now would be selling way too low. Unless another team views him as a legitimate trade piece -- and I highly doubt that after the 2010 that Reimold had -- why not just allow him to come to spring training healthy and focused and see whether he can rebound? If Reimold has to spend a little time at Triple-A and wait for Felix Pie or another outfielder to get injured or to slump, so be it.
On the bullpen front, I wrote yesterday that the Orioles have at least one offer out to a reliever (not including Uehara). I still don’t have the guy nailed down yet, but I have heard from multiple places that the Orioles are pretty interested in Kevin Gregg, who converted 37 of 43 save opportunities for the Toronto Blue Jays last season. The Orioles like plenty of other relievers, but I don’t see them sacrificing their second-round draft pick to sign a Type A bullpen arm, like Grant Balfour and Matt Guerrier. Jesse Crain is looking for a two or three-year deal similar to what Joaquin Benoit got from the Detroit Tigers, so you can forget about him, too.
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